Rent – Presented by Mirvish at Canon Theatre

By Dana Lacey

Cast of Rent by Joan Marcus
This may be your last chance to watch Rent done right. It’s only in town for two weeks, and rumours say the starring duo are retiring once it’s done. Catch the Pulitzer-prize earning, 10-time Tony award-winning musical before it’s too late.

Full disclosure: I didn’t know Rent was such a big deal. My first hint? When I told my friend I’d gotten tickets, she screamed. The Canon Theatre was buzzing with energy as the band tuned their instruments. When the first two characters stepped onstage, the crowd erupted with the unmistakable squeal of celebrity worship. Apparently Adam Pascal and Anthony Rapp have been playing protagonists Roger and Mark since the first 1994 production. They’ve played them on Broadway, around the corner from Broadway, and on the silver screen. By the end of their first song it’s easy see why both deserve the spotlight.

Rent is a play about New York in the 80s. The script had some cheesy attempts at modernization, but mostly it stayed a true period piece that follows the lives of East Village squatters as they struggle with money, relationships and the misery of AIDS. “Rent meant a lot to me as a teenager,” my friend said, “it taught me about drugs, sexuality, music and love.”

She wasn’t the only one stuck in fangirl mode. People cheered when their favourite characters stepped onstage. The guy beside me softly sang along to every song. I found myself wishing I knew the words. I loved the variety of songs, the subtle humour, the sadness. Pascal has an especially haunting and swoon-worthy voice, and the oh-so-sexy cast were pitch perfect. Even the minor characters blew me away with unexpectedly devastating solos.

Time’s running out…go see this play.

Photo credit: The cast of Rent by Joan Marcus


Rent is playing until January 24th, 2010, at Canon Theatre (244 Victoria St., Toronto.)

Showtimes: Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri at 8 p.m., Sat 2 p.m. and 8 p.m., Sun 1 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Ticket prices range from $25 to $100 and are available at the box office or online.